President Obama signs HR 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, on Sept. 30. The bill provides continuing appropriations for pay and allowances for service members during a government shutdown. (Pete Souza / White House)
As the government shutdown took effect at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, President Obama issued a message to U.S. troops:
“Those of you in uniform will remain on your normal duty status. The threats to our national security have not changed, and we need you to be ready for any contingency.
“Ongoing military operations, like our efforts in Afghanistan, will continue. If you’re serving in harm’s way, we’re going to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your missions. Congress has passed, and I am signing into law, legislation to make sure you get your paychecks on time. And we’ll continue working to address any impact this shutdown has on you and your families.
“To all our DOD civilians, I know the days ahead could mean more uncertainty, including possible furloughs. And I know this comes on top of the furloughs that many of you already endured this summer. You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress. Your talents and dedication help keep our military the best in the world. That’s why I’ll keep working to get Congress to reopen our government and get you back to work as soon as possible.
“Finally, I know this shutdown occurs against the background of broader changes. The war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan will end next year. After more than a decade of unprecedented operations, we are moving off a war footing. Yes, our military will be leaner, and as a nation we face difficult budget choices going forward.
“But here’s what I want you to know. I’m going to keep fighting to get rid of those across-the-board budget cuts, the sequester, which are hurting our military and our economy. We need a responsible approach that deals with our fiscal challenges and keeps our military and our economy strong. And I’m going to make sure you stay the greatest military in the world—bar none. That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what you and your families deserve.”